CPS: Synergy: Collaborative Research: Distributed Just-Ahead-Of-Time Verification of Cyber-Physical Critical Infrastructures
Lead PI:
Saman Zonouz
Trustworthy operation of next-generation complex power grid critical infrastructures requires mathematical and practical verification solutions to guarantee the correct infrastructural functionalities. This project develops the foundations of theoretical modeling, synthesis and real-world deployment of a formal and scalable controller code verifier for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in cyber-physical settings. PLCs are widely used for control automation in industrial control systems. A PLC is typically connected to an engineering workstation where engineers develop the control logic to process the input values from sensors and issue control commands to actuators. The project focuses on protecting infrastructures against malicious control injection attacks on PLCs, such as Stuxnet, that inject malicious code on the device to drive the underlying physical platform to an unsafe state. The broader impact of this proposal is highly significant. It offers potential for real-time security for critical infrastructure systems covering sectors such as energy and manufacturing. The project's intellectual merit is in providing a mathematical and practical verification framework for cyber-physical systems through integration of offline formal methods, online monitoring solutions, and power systems analysis. Offline formal methods do not scale for large-scale platforms due to their exhaustive safety analysis of all possible system states, while online monitoring often reports findings too late for preventative action. This project takes a hybrid approach that dynamically predicts the possible next security incidents and reports to operators before an unsafe state is encountered, allowing time for response. The broader impact of this project is in providing practical mathematical analysis capabilities for general cyber-physical safety-critical infrastructure with potential direct impact on our national security. The research outcomes are integrated into education modules for graduate, undergraduate, and K-12 classrooms.
Saman Zonouz

Saman Zonouz is an Associate Professor at Georgia Tech in the Schools of Cybersecurity and Privacy (SCP) and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Saman directs the Cyber-Physical Security Laboratory (CPSec). His research focuses on security and privacy research problems in cyber-physical systems including attack detection and response capabilities using techniques from systems security, control theory and artificial intelligence. His research has been awarded by Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the NSF CAREER Award in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), Significant Research in Cyber Security by the National Security Agency (NSA), and Faculty Fellowship Award by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). His research group has disclosed several security vulnerabilities with published CVEs in widely-used industrial controllers such as Siemens, Allen Bradley, and Wago. Saman is currently a Co-PI on President Biden’s American Rescue Plan $65M Georgia AI Manufacturing (GA-AIM) project. Saman was invited to co-chair the NSF CPS PI Meeting as well as the NSF CPS Next Big Challenges Workshop. Saman has served as the chair and/or program committee member for several conferences (e.g., IEEE Security and Privacy, CCS, NDSS, DSN, and ICCPS). Saman obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Performance Period: 01/01/2015 - 12/31/2017
Institution: Rutgers University New Brunswick
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Award Number: 1446471